When you ask someone to imagine a jazz tune in their head, I bet that the imaginary tune has a walking bass line. It’s that steady, pulse keeping, melodic thump that will make you tap your feet, nod your head and feel the groove. In many ways it epitomizes what bass playing is all about: defining the song’s harmonic rhythm in a melodic manner. It’s a deep rabbit hole of a subject to get into for a bassist but the excellent You Tube channel Scott’s Bass Lessons (about who I wrote about previously, see https://roymusicusa.com/2015/11/28/cool-video-alert-10-things-every-bass-player-should-know/ ) has a good playlist of videos that serve as a solid primer on the subject.
Scott’s Bass Lessons – Walking Bass Lines:
Recently, the web site Reverb started a cool little video series called Bass Walk of The Week. In the videos, Jake Hawrylak demonstrates walking bass line pattern from jazz masters like Paul Chambers, Ray Brown and Christian McBride. The patterns are one or two measures long and each fit over a single chord. That makes them easy to conceptualize as melodic cells that can be played when you’re in a similar harmonic environment.
“So What” by Miles Davis (Paul Chambers) | Reverb Bass Lesson –
Christian McBride on “McThing” | Reverb Bass Lesson –
Ray Brown on Oscar Peterson’s “Work Song” | Reverb Bass Lesson –
Reverb.com is a music geek’s cyber heaven. It’s an online marketplace for new and used music gear and it’s You Tube channel features gear reviews and educational videos for guitarist, bassists and all of us who are afflicted with that terrible condition; Music Nerdism (I’m thinking of holding a telethon for this condition: send me your dollars to find a cure by allowing me to buy more stuff).
Reverb on You Tube –